World

US websites protest NSA surveillance practices

DPA San Francisco | Updated on February 12, 2014

Some of the most widely used websites in the US banded together Tuesday to protest National Security Agency surveillance of web traffic.

The campaign, dubbed The Day We Fight Back, is backed by sites and organisations such as reddit.com, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, Tumblr and more than 5,000 other companies and internet sites.

Websites feature banners that allow users to email or call their members of Congress and ask them to vote against legislation called the FISA Improvements Act. The bill is a proposed reform to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but privacy advocates say it would actually legalize many of the NSA’s controversial practices, such as the bulk collection of phone records.

Users are urged to tell their representatives to support an alternative proposal, the USA Freedom Act, that campaign supporters say more thoroughly curtails NSA surveillance abuses.

The campaign comes two years after more than 8,000 websites went dark in an eventually successful effort to protest bills that would have given the US government the right to block websites that were found to violate copyrights.

“Today the greatest threat to a free internet, and broader free society, is the National Security Agency’s mass spying regime,” said organisers in a statement.

“Participants... will join potentially millions of internet users to pressure lawmakers to end mass surveillance — of both Americans and the citizens of the whole world.”

Published on February 12, 2014

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